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Back in DL/HB0/HB9

Due to some unstable weather back in June, I was unable to activate any mountains in the Berchtesgadener Alpen whilst on my way to Friedrichshafen. So, here I am, back at the Königssee and the weather looks favourable for the next two days. All being well, I will activate DL/BG-061 Schneibstein tomorrow morning and DL/BG-062 Jenner in the afternoon. Having looked at the map, there is a fantastic 3 day high level hike round the Königssee taking in many SOTA summits, but that will have to wait for next year.
de DL/OE6FEG/P
Matt

Tuesday 27th of August

So, as per the post above, I had decided to do the Schneibstein and Jenner on the Tuesday. However, on Monday night there was a massive thunder storm. The next morning it was very foggy and dull in the valley. I checked the forecast and whilst things were starting to stabilise in general, the risk of thunderstorms around lunchtime was still quite high. I decided to leave the double activation until Wednesday and just do a relatively easy 4 pointer within walking distance of the campsite. I chose the Grünstein DL/BG-076. There is a really good klettersteig going up the Grünstein:

I recently bought a small harness for working on the roof, and I now wished I had a Zypper for via ferrata as well. In any case, the way up to the summit was very enjoyable, if a little bit muddy from the night before. It climbs very steeply through the forest:

The summit of the Grünstein is large and well furnished:

The views of the surrounding area are well worth the effort:

There was not much cloud in the direction of Jenner, which had been my primary target:

The activation was very enjoyable. I noticed that the bands were as I normally find them, with 20m proving quite difficult and 40m yielding the majority of the contacts. The QSB was particularly bad today and my apologies if you are not in the log; some contacts on 20m just literally faded into nothing. Anyway, I headed back down the mountain feeling very positive about the holiday in general. I got showered, hopped on the bus and got a few essentials from Berchtesgaden, including plenty of hard cash. The forecast for Wednasday was much more stable, so this would be the better day to try the double activation.

       73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
                Matt
3 Likes

Wednesday 28th of August
The weather was now very stable, there had been no thunderstorm at all the day before and apart from a high cloud layer, the sky was fairly clear. I got up nice and early and got the first cable car up the mountain. The station is very close to the campsite, so there is no point wasting €2.50 on carparking. There is a lot building work going on at the top station and the path to the Schneibstein Haus has only recently reopened:

The signs say 2h 45m to the Schneibstein DL/BG-061, but I managed it in about 1h 30m, so even a fairly unfit person should be able to improve on 2h 45m. Being able to get on air earlier was a real benefit on 20m with 599 reports going in both directions. The band conditions had changed yet again, but I wasn’t complaining. The view whilst rattling away was fantastic:

I switched to 40m and found a steady stream of contacts there as well, it was already shaping up into a great day. With the summit in the bag I lay back and enjoyed a sandwich whilst looking down towards the Carl-v.-Stahl Haus, where I planned to get an apple juice on the way to Jenner:

Having eaten 2 sandwiches, I had a raging thirst by the time I reached the hut, despite having a litre of water with me. I sank a half litre of delicious apple juice in record time and headed up to Jenner DL/BG-062 which was no more than 30m away. The summit is not very large unfortunately, and being close to the cable car station means a steady stream of tourist most of the day. In hindsight, it might have been better to activate this summit first. There was one thing working in my favour however: a giant swarm of flying ants on the other side of the summit cross meant that people tended to come up and the leave quite quickly:

I was far enough away from them not to be bothered too much, but my CW did suffer a little at times. It meant perching my chair in a rather precarious position:

The bands were still working well into the EU, and I was beginning to wonder if I would make the last cable car I was so busy on the radio. Once again, as far as the view goes it’s really second to none:

As you can see, there is a lovely platform just outside of the activation zone.

One or two people walked into the antenna, but generally it was no problem. With my log book bulging I headed back down to the valley for some cold beer and schnitzel. After being up there for the day and seeing the Watzmann from across the valley, I am definitely thinking about the Königsee Runde for next year (on top of all the other plans already being considered for next year. It started raining early this morning, so I packed up as early as possible and drove to Feldkirch. The afternoon brightened up considerably and it’s back to warm and sunny weather for the time being.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt

5 Likes

Servus Matt,

I was lucky to catch you on all of 3 summits :slight_smile:
Thanks for Summit Complete with Jenner DL/BE-062 :beers:
CU soon in CW pile up :+1:

73, Mario DJ2MX (9A4MX,NØMX,E73DX)

Friday 30th September

As weather cleared up beautifully when I arrived in Feldkirch I wasted no time in planning my next day’s activation. I was eager to get HB0 in the log, and the Augustenberg HB0/LI-004 was only a half hour or so away. I got to Malbun at just past 9 and hopped straight on the chair lift. The way round to the Augustenberg is a wonderful high level ridge:

The way is not too long and strenuous either, it took me about an hour and 15 mins. On the way up to the Augustenberg an eagle suddenly took to skies and wheeled round lazily in the morning sun:

A sure sign from the gods that they looked favourably on my expedition. When you arrive at the summit you get a much better view of the ridge you just came along:

The summit is large with plenty of room for a full size antenna:

The bands were in good shape and I munched happily on a sandwich whilst working my way through the pile-up. I was having so much fun, I decided to have a go on SSB. The log was bulging satisfyingly by the time I went QRT:

I count 59 contacts, only 20 short of my personal best. Thank you chasers for a great activation, I’ll have to try SSB more often. It was time to think about getting back. Although I had bought a return ticket for the chair lift, I really wanted to complete the horseshoe and descend the west ridge of the Augustenberg then continue to the Silberhorn. That was easier said than done as the ridge dropped away precipitously. I got as far as a bolt and a maillon rapide for climbers before deciding that this was not the walkers route. Thankfully, it was possible to turn the buttress on the left and descend the gully before cutting across right back to the ridge. Looking back up it became clear that down-climbing was not an option here:

As I made my way along the ridge I almost walked into a huge spider sitting motionless in its web:

The rest of the way back to Malbun is pretty straightforward; I had forgotten what a cacophony of cow bells you hear in the Swiss Alps. In the warmth of the afternoon sun there is nothing more relaxing. The weather was also set fair for the day after as well.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt

2 Likes

Saturday 31st

The weather was looking good for paragliding, so I set off to Andelsbuch hoping for a nice flight; but not before identifying a suitable SOTA summit just in case the flying was not up to much. Hochälpele OE/VB-494 was on the way back to Feldkirch and so was ideal as an plan b summit. I got to Andelsbuch at about 9:30am, no need to rush when paragliding, the more time things have to heat up the better. The weather at take off was very fine:

Unfortunately, there was no decent thermal activity, so just a quick fly down. It was time to throw the KX2 in the bag and go for plan b; it’s so nice having two hobbies you really enjoy, whatever happens you always find something nice to do. The village of Bödele has a small ski resort and thus masses of parking spaces, many of which are also in the shade. I left the car nice and cool under a huge tree and set off up the hill. It only takes about an hour to the summit, the view over the Bodensee is fabulous:

The Zeppelin might just be visible in that photo. The summit is not small, but it’s better to descend a little and set up away from the numerous walkers. The activation went well as ever, just the 2 bands, 20 and 40 cw, as usual. Certainly not as many contacts as the day before but an enjoyable pile-up nonetheless. There is a very nice hut right below the summit and it seemed like such a nice afternoon I stopped in and had a refreshing apple juice. Sunday would also be fine, but there was rain forecast for Monday. I wanted to get HB9 in the log asap and thus qualify for my silver mountain explorer, so Sunday would mean a trip over the border.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt

2 Likes

Sunday 1st September

The forecast was for plenty of sun in the morning but becoming unstable rapidly. I felt I could probably squeeze in Säntis HB/AI-001 before the heavens opened. With a cable car to the top there was a handy escape route if things turned bad. There is plenty of room at the summit, but I still wanted to be out of the way. I found a place just off the summit by some railings:

I was expecting crushing RX de-sense from the transmitter there:

Actually, it was fine. The only problem I had was with the cept callsign prefix that I got mixed up with the summit refs, which are only HB/. A local put me right and I quickly reset the log before calling again on 40m. The cloud was boiling up quickly, and I won’t say I wasn’t glad when the pile-up started to die down:

I packed up quickly and went downstairs to have a salad and green tea in the restaurant, which was delicious and not as expensive as I was expecting. This activation got me my silver mountain explorer, so I was very happy. I have a small nocturnal visitor to my tent at the moment:

He sniffs pretty loudly as he hunts around. He demolished the chicken drumstick I left him. It’s a shame there’s no wildlife bonus.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt

2 Likes

Wednesday 4th September

The last good weather day for a while meant I had to find a suitable double activation. A quick look at the excellent SOTA mapping site revealed a place called the Furkajoch, just 40 minutes away from the campsite. From there it would be possible to reach three 8 pointers spaced in a fairly even triangle pattern around the car park. When I got there in the morning there was smoke rising from the other side of the ridge. I was worried that there was a bush fire on the other side, but in the event it was the result of controlled fires:

The summit of the Pfrondhorn OE/VB-394 is large enough for a full size antenna:

Being so close to the carpark I was there very early and the sky was crystal clear. The view along the ridge over to the Löffelspitze OE/VB-391 was awesome:

I was set up in good time and started calling, hoping for some DX as it was still early. As expected, SA4BLM came back almost immediately to my call on 20m. All I can say is that Lars must be glued to his radio, he is almost always the first to pick me up on 20m. The activation didn’t last too long, which I was glad of as I had quite a lot to do today. I packed up and headed over to the Löffelspitze. The ridge leading to the summit is very narrow in places, probably a lot like Striding Edge on Hellvelyn in England: nowhere really desperate but one must pick ones way across slowly and carefully:

The view back from the summit shows more detail:

It was about 11:30 when I put out my first call on 20m. It was getting quite hot now and there were quite a lot of flies on this summit. With the activation done, I picked my way back along the ridge and had my usual apple juice at the Furkajoch, which is very popular with bikers. Suitably refreshed, I set off for the Gehrenfalben OE/VB-397. This proved a little harder than expected as there is no path to the summit. I want to a col on the ridge to the north east first, and this proved to be a mistake as I had to traverse round through rough ground and lose height at the same time. To cut a long story short, the correct way to the summit looks like this:

Go up directly from the road by a crash barrier and follow a stream:

There is only a summit marker when you get to the top, it’s useful for putting up an antenna:

It was getting late and the pile up was the smallest of the three today. Again, I wasn’t too sorry about that, it was nice to get back down and get the BBQ going for some dinner. I’m not sure if I will have a good opportunity to do any more activations before my Erasmus job-shadowing starts, we’ll just have to wait and see.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt

1 Like

Friday 6th September

It rained pretty much all day Thursday. That was not such a big problem as I used it as an opportunity to do some work. Friday, however, provided a welcome respite from the rain, albeit a very dull and cloudy one. I found a 6 pointer only half an hour away that was also served by a summer chairlift: Falben (Gapfohl) OE/VB-431. There was a lot of cloud and mist hanging round from the day before:

The ski lift took a bit longer to get going, but eventually I was on my way up the mountain. There was still a chance of rain, so I had my fingers crossed that it would hold off until the afternoon. The damp cool weather has brought out the wild fungi, this highly poisonous specimen is often mistaken for Sparassis crispa, which is an excellent edible fungus:

I found a few Porcini here and there; something to look forward to when I got back (sadly no ribeye and Béarnaise sauce accompaniment when camping).
Anyway, the summit is easily attained in under an hour from the top station:

No furniture here, I had bring my own:

The scene was quite ethereal with tendrils of cloud flowing round slowly and mist blowing over the summit:

Being a weekday morning, the pile-up was quite modest, but as ever with the KX2 and 12 watts CW, absolutely no problem getting 4 contacts. 20m took a while to get going with the usual QSB making life difficult. 40m was a bit better, but not a huge number of contacts:

Well, with 48 hours solid rain on the way, I decided to abandon the campsite for the comfort of a hotel room. My hat off to all activators who are still going out today, and I see there are a few. This will probably be my last activation in this series, unless I can sneak out one evening after school next week. There are plenty of summits within walking distance of the hotel, it just depends on how busy I am.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt

1 Like

Monday 9th (Failed Activation!)

I managed to get out of school half an hour early, so I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and activate a local 2 pointer: Hoher Sattel. Unfortunately, I misread the summit code and put in OE/VB-531 instead of OE/VB-534. I noticed my mistake when I uploaded the file and got 8 points instead of 2. Oh well, we all have our off days. I’ve only had 2 other failed activations, a long time ago. It just goes to show, no one is immune to the odd failed activation. Oh well, the sunshine was very welcome after such a rotten weekend.
73 de OE6FEG/P
Matt